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25 IN 25: Opening Night 10-1 Win

On Oct. 5, 2017, the Blackhawks opened their season with a double-digit scoreline against the two-time reigning champions

by Bob Verdi /

To celebrate 25 years of Blackhawks hockey at the United Center, looks back on the top 25 moments with '25 in 25'

After being swept by the Nashville Predators in the First Round of the 2017 playoffs, the Blackhawks pledged to approach the next season with vim, vigor and in a pronounced state of ill-humor.

But 10-1? That's how the Blackhawks began their regular schedule on October 5, 2017, at the United Center. With a 10-1 romp before a crowd of 21,705. And they didn't beat some beer league team. They shredded the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had won the previous two Stanley Cups.

"It was almost like it wasn't a real game," said Patrick Kane, hours after the gala red carpet ceremony outside the building.

Marian Hossa, sidelined indefinitely with a skin condition, was introduced along with all the Blackhawks before puck drop. Another ovation welcomed Bryan Bickell, honored with "One More Shift". Chairman Rocky Wirtz observed his 65th birthday. What's left to celebrate?

Count the ways. You'll need all your fingers.

At 6:21 of the first period, Ryan Hartman scored. Then at 7:06, Brandon Saad, marking his return via a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then at 7:34, Nick Schmaltz made it 3-0 and at 9:16, Saad again.

Antti Niemi, who backstopped the Blackhawks to their 2010 Stanley Cup, was lifted mercifully from the Penguins' net at this juncture, not that it mattered. Another favorite, Patrick Sharp, back with the Blackhawks after a brief tour with the Dallas Stars, beat Matt Murray at 17:01, and it was 5-0.

After a brief intermission, nothing changed. Kane, Richard Panik and Schmaltz all scored in the second period. In the third period, Saad completed a hat trick against his hometown Penguins and Brent Seabrook secured a 10-1 bulge 13:45 into the third period. The Blackhawks took 44 shots. Saad was the first star, Kane second and Schmaltz third. Chelsea Dagger got a workout.

Video: 25 in 25: Opening night 10-1 win

The Blackhawks were collectively a plus-50. Hartman and Kane each were plus-5. Schmaltz was plus-4, as was Jonathan Toews. It was the first time the Blackhawks had scored 10 goals in a game since 1988.

"The excitement level tonight was through the roof," enthused Saad.

Bickell was overwhelmed by the response. He starred during the 2013 Stanley Cup run, and played on the 2010 and 2015 championship teams. Having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Bickell signed a one-day contract with the Blackhawks "so I could retire in the same the place where I started, Chicago."

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